A Remote Work Guide

It seems that the vast majority of people I know in the data professional world are working from home these days. Actually, I think more people are working remotely than ever before. I don’t know how much will carry over into the future, but I certainly think more companies will think about having people work from home more often. This might be the thing that finally gets many managers accepting remote work as a normal way for employees to get things done.

Across the last month I’ve seen lots of advice and thoughts about how to adjust to remote work. Some I agree with, some I don’t. I’ve been full time at home for seventeen years at this point and my wife did it for nearly twenty. We’ve had a lot of experience, and learned a lot in that time. While thinking about the advice I’ve give to others, I noticed this guide from Gitlab for their employees on adjusting to working at home and wanted to share it.

I think this guide has some good advice, though certainly finding space and finding separation between work and home life can be tough at first, especially with kids at home. I think it took me 2-3 months to really adjust to the new routine when I started full time at home, and even now, I can struggle at times. Usually I have the gym, coaching, travel, and other activities to break up life and get me away from my office. That’s not the case now, and this tweet from Scott Hanselman sums up things for me. This isn’t the same as my routine has been for over a decade. This adjustment is hard, and we should allow for fits and starts from both ourselves and others.

Many of us technical people are somewhat introverted. I know I am, despite all the public speaking I do. It’s easy to retreat a bit into our own world right now, which isn’t necessarily the best thing. As the guide notes, experiment with some changes and new things. I have to say that I never thought a virtual coffee break or happy hour would be something I’d try, but I look forward to my 9am happy hour with Redgate staff every Friday. Don’t stop engaging completely, and as you find structure, experiment a little here and there.  Loneliness can creep up on you.

If you’re a person that likes the written word, the SQLServerCentral forums have some great discussions. Feel free to join in to something fun, like coping, baseball, or anything not about SQL, or stick to technical topics if you like. If you prefer video, I’d urge you to reach out to a friend or family member, or even someone on Twitter, for a quick chat. I’ve made it a point to reach out to a few people every couple days, usually text or messaging, just to check in and say hi. It’s been helpful to me.

Remote work is a challenge in and of itself, but this isn’t the same as normal telecommuting. Try some different things, build some routine, and remember to take care of yourself and your family in this challenging time. If you have tips or tricks that have worked for you, especially those of you in small spaces, share them with others in a comment today.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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